Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence written and illustrated by Nick Bantock
Genre: Epistolary Fiction
Series: #1 in the Griffin & Sabine series
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: 1991
From the dust jacket:
Griffin: It’s good to get in touch with you at last. Could I have one of your fish postcards? I think you were right—the wine glass has more impact than the cup. –Sabine
But Griffin had never met a woman named Sabine. How did she know him? How did she know his artwork? Who is she? Thus begins the strange and intriguing correspondence of Griffin and Sabine. It is a story that is partly a romance, partly a mystery, and completely a work of art. Each page contains a new postcard or letter, rich with lush colors, brilliant drawings, and wildly imagninative creatures and landscapes. And, in this multi-media novel, each letter must be pulled from its own envelope, giving the reader that delightful forbidden sensation of reading someone else’s mail. The complete correspondence tells an extraordinary story in an extraordinary way.
I first read this trilogy years ago. I’ve never read the follow up books. Sometimes they are referred to collectively as a series and other times listed as two related trilogies. Anyway a couple of years ago I saw something about this book that prompted me to buy my own copies of the original three and they’ve sat on my shelf. When I heard a few weeks ago that a new book is due out later this month it prompted me to finally read them and also the follow up books.
These books are such an experience. They are epistolary stories but they’re not simply text correspondence. These are both writing and art. The pages are the front and back of postcards and some pages are actually envelopes with letters tucked inside. It’s truly like sitting down and reading a box of saved letters and postcards.
The story fascinating and mysterious. Sabine writes to Griffin but he doesn’t know her. They have a connection that is odd. Both are artists and as the postcards and letters progress they get to know each other and develop a bond. Is it a romance? or is it something completely different?
These books are not something you read. The visual imagery and the tactile experience of opening the envelopes make it a multisensory adventure that feels a bit voyeuristic.
It was fun to read this again and I’m going to continue with the others soon.